Adrenaline and testosterone are both human hormones 3. Adrenaline, the common name for epinephrine, is a stress hormone produced in similar quantities in both men and women. Testosterone is classically considered a "male" hormone, although it's produced in small amounts in women as well. In men, testosterone is responsible for physical male development and sexual capability and performance.
Function of Adrenaline
Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of either kidney. The hormone, more commonly called epinephrine in the scientific and medical communities, is also often called the "fight or flight" hormone, since it's released in response to severe stress or threat. Explains Dr. Lauralee Sherwood in her book "Human Physiology," adrenaline increases heart rate, respiration rate, availability of glucose to fuel muscles, and blood flow to the muscles, helping to prepare the body to fight or flee an attack 1.
Function of Testosterone
Will Drinking Green Tea Lower Androgen in Women?
In both males and females, testosterone is the hormone responsible for the sex drive. It's produced in the Leydig cells of the testes in men, explains Dr. Gary Thibodeau in his book "Anatomy and Physiology." In women, the thecal cells of the ovaries produce very limited amounts of testosterone 2. The hormone causes embryonic boys to develop male sex organs, and then during puberty, causes sex organs to enlarge and become functional.
- In both males and females, testosterone is the hormone responsible for the sex drive.
- In women, the thecal cells of the ovaries produce very limited amounts of testosterone 2.
Because both testosterone and adrenaline are associated with strength and vigor in some regard--testosterone because it leads to increased musculature and adrenaline because it increases the contractile strength of muscles temporarily--it's common to assume that the hormones work together. In reality, notes Dr. Thibodeau, testosterone is a steroid hormone that exerts long-term effects over development and physiological function. Adrenaline, on the other hand, has short-term effects, and does not show cooperation with testosterone.
How Long Does an Adrenaline Rush Last?
While in many ways the functions of testosterone and adrenaline don't overlap significantly, research published in 1983 in the scientific journal "Experimental Clinical Endocrinology" suggests that high levels of adrenaline in the body can negatively impact testosterone levels in men 3. The mechanism is through reducing levels of LH, which subsequently reduces levels of testosterone. While short-term exposures to adrenaline are unlikely to cause effects, long-term stress and routine adrenaline exposure may downregulate testosterone production.
Both testosterone and adrenaline levels can increase during or shortly after exercise. Adrenaline release occurs during significant physical efforts, and helps increase muscular strength and firing of muscular units on a temporary basis, notes Dr. Thibodeau. This effect typically lasts for only a short period of time during and after a workout. Regular exercise can also boost testosterone levels, and since testosterone is a slower-acting hormone than adrenaline, this effect is a bit longer-lasting than that of adrenaline release.
- Both testosterone and adrenaline levels can increase during or shortly after exercise.
- Adrenaline release occurs during significant physical efforts, and helps increase muscular strength and firing of muscular units on a temporary basis, notes Dr. Thibodeau.
Will Drinking Green Tea Lower Androgen in Women?
How Long Does an Adrenaline Rush Last?
What Happens When a Man Takes Estrogen?
Normal Range of Testosterone for a Woman
Adrenaline & Cortisol
Alternatives to DHEA Supplements
Does Taurine Help With Weight Loss?
Can Caffeine Decrease Testosterone?
Behavioral Side Effects of HGH
Adrenal Gland Disorders & Excessive Sweating
- “Human Physiology”; Lauralee Sherwood, Ph.D.; 2004
- “Anatomy and Physiology”; Gary Thibodeau, Ph.D.; 2007
- "Experimental Clinical Endocrinology"; The influence of adrenaline on plasma testosterone in adult and newborn male rats; F. Gotz et al; May 1983
- Stanworth RD, Jones TH. Testosterone for the aging male; current evidence and recommended practice. Clin Interv Aging. 2008;3(1):25–44. doi:10.2147/cia.s190
- McBride JA, Carson CC 3rd, Coward RM. Testosterone deficiency in the aging male. Ther Adv Urol. 2016;8(1):47–60. doi:10.1177/1756287215612961
- Kumar P, Kumar N, Thakur DS, Patidar A. Male hypogonadism: Symptoms and treatment. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2010;1(3):297–301. doi:10.4103/0110-5558.72420
- Johnson JM, Nachtigall LB, Stern TA. The effect of testosterone levels on mood in men: a review. Psychosomatics. 2013;54(6):509-14.
- Rajfer J. Relationship between testosterone and erectile dysfunction. Rev Urol. 2000;2(2):122–128.
- Barrett-Connor E, Dam TT, Stone K, et al. The association of testosterone levels with overall sleep quality, sleep architecture, and sleep-disordered breathing. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93(7):2602–2609. doi:10.1210/jc.2007-2622
- Beauchet O. Testosterone and cognitive function: current clinical evidence of a relationship. Eur J Endocrinol. 2006;155(6):773-81.
- Golds G, Houdek D, Arnason T. Male Hypogonadism and Osteoporosis: The Effects, Clinical Consequences, and Treatment of Testosterone Deficiency in Bone Health. Int J Endocrinol. 2017;2017:4602129. doi:10.1155/2017/4602129
- Grossmann M, Thomas MC, Panagiotopoulos S, et al. Low testosterone levels are common and associated with insulin resistance in men with diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93(5):1834-40.
- Cai Z, Xi H, Pan Y, et al. Effect of testosterone deficiency on cholesterol metabolism in pigs fed a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet. Lipids Health Dis. 2015;14:18. Published 2015 Mar 7. doi:10.1186/s12944-015-0014-5
- Ferrucci L, Maggio M, Bandinelli S, et al. Low testosterone levels and the risk of anemia in older men and women. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(13):1380–1388. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.13.1380
- Nassar GN, Leslie SW. Physiology, Testosterone. [Updated 2018 Oct 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
- Rivas AM, Mulkey Z, Lado-Abeal J, Yarbrough S. Diagnosing and managing low serum testosterone. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2014;27(4):321–324. doi:10.1080/08998280.2014.11929145
- Kanakis GA, Nieschlag E. Klinefelter syndrome: more than hypogonadism. Metab Clin Exp. 2018;86:135-144.
- Sizar O, Schwartz J. Hypogonadism. [Updated 2019 Jun 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
- Nahata L, Yu RN, Bhasin S, Cohen LE. Management of testosterone therapy in adolescents and young men with hypogonadism: are we following adult clinical practice guidelines?. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2015;28(5-6):635-40.
- McBride JA, Carson CC, Coward RM. Diagnosis and management of testosterone deficiency. Asian J Androl. 2015;17(2):177–186. doi:10.4103/1008-682X.143317
- Crawford ED, Poage W, Nyhuis A, et al. Measurement of testosterone: how important is a morning blood draw?. Curr Med Res Opin. 2015;31(10):1911-4.
- Wersinger SR, Haisenleder DJ, Lubahn DB, Rissman EF. Steroid feedback on gonadotropin release and pituitary gonadotropin subunit mRNA in mice lacking a functional estrogen receptor alpha. Endocrine. 1999;11(2):137-43.
- Rhoden EL, Estrada C, Levine L, Morgentaler A. The value of pituitary magnetic resonance imaging in men with hypogonadism. J Urol. 2003;170(3):795-8.
- Snyder PJ, Kopperdahl DL, Stephens-Shields AJ, et al. Effect of Testosterone Treatment on Volumetric Bone Density and Strength in Older Men With Low Testosterone: A Controlled Clinical Trial [published correction appears in JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Apr 1;177(4):600] [published correction appears in JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Mar 1;179(3):457]. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(4):471–479. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9539
- Huo S, Scialli AR, McGarvey S, et al. Treatment of Men for "Low Testosterone": A Systematic Review. PLoS One. 2016;11(9):e0162480. Published 2016 Sep 21. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162480
- Armamento-Villareal R, Aguirre LE, Qualls C, Villareal DT. Effect of Lifestyle Intervention on the Hormonal Profile of Frail, Obese Older Men. J Nutr Health Aging. 2016;20(3):334–340. doi:10.1007/s12603-016-0698-x
- American Urological Association. Evaluation and management of testosterone deficiency.
- Grech A, Breck J, Heidelbaugh J. Adverse effects of testosterone replacement therapy: an update on the evidence and controversy. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2014;5(5):190–200. doi:10.1177/2042098614548680
- American Urological Association, Evaluation and Management of Testosterone Deficiency.
- Fillo J, Breza J Jr, Ondrusova M, Luha J, Ondrus D, Dubravicky J, et al. Results of long term testosterone replacement therapy in men with abdominal obesity, erectile dysfunction and testosterone deficiency. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2018;119(9):577-580. doi:10.4149/BLL_2018_061
- Tremellen K, McPhee N, Pearce K, Benson S, Schedlowski M, Engler H. Endotoxin-initiated inflammation reduces testosterone production in men of reproductive age. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Mar 1;314(3):E206-E213. doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00279.2017. Epub 2017 Nov 28.
Kirstin Hendrickson is a writer, teacher, coach, athlete and author of the textbook "Chemistry In The World." She's been teaching and writing about health, wellness and nutrition for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in zoology, a Bachelor of Science in psychology, a Master of Science in chemistry and a doctoral degree in bioorganic chemistry.